Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Maintaining the Human in a Digital World

By: Amber Genuske

Mark Briggs’ book “Journalism Next” he discusses the facets of online journalism in the first chapter entitled, “Journalism Is About People, Not Technology.” What Briggs says in this chapter is to maintain the human aspect in stories despite the conversion of story form. The easy part is learning the new mediums in which to tell the story — the challenge is to create stellar content to hold the attention of the reader (and, now, listener and observer).

Multimedia journalists, mainly in life and arts sections, need to view the videos, audio and photography just as they would a story. What will catch the attention of the consumer? What will hold their attention? What is the best way to tell the story? Outside of quick and hard news snippets, I think all of these questions can be answered by having an artistic eye. There is a line that needs to be pushed while maintaining a balance between creativity and journalism.

One of the best examples of this balance is Masie Crow's profile of an elderly gentleman's plight with the solitude of old age, "A Life Alone." Crow's eye for the small things that tell a story is magnificent, and something that every multimedia journalist should aspire to. She uses brief shots of a crack in the wall, a stack of old hand-written letters and a tattered flag blowing in the wind to illustrate the stark emotions of her subject. Shot entirely in black and white and without music, this is a raw and beautiful story. subject. Shot entirely in black and white and without music, this is a raw and beautiful story.

"Last Minutes With Oden" follows the owner of a dog as he goes through the struggle of euthanizing his doThis story is considered a documentary and does incorporate music, both of which are debated if they can be considered journalism. However, this is another example of how to mix an artistic eye with storytelling. The videographer uses alternative shots like riding next to the subject on his bike and artistic touches like blurring of the scene to tell the story.

Note: The following video contains graphic content of a dog being euthanized so do not watch if you are sensitive to such imagery.

Last Minutes with ODEN from phos pictures on Vimeo.

Though both of these stories are tragic, they have what Briggs says is the challenge — they have the human aspect, artistic visions and editing and a strong story, the basis of journalism.

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